Mayor Annise Parker is convinced that the most current Census numbers are wrong. The Census reported that 2.09 million people live in Houston. After a settlement with the US Department of Justice in the 70s, the city agreed to add two new council districts once the population hits 2.1 million. Parker says that at least hundreds of people were missed in the Census, so we really have enough people in Houston to add new seats.
I agree that we probably have at least 2.1 million people in Houston, but I don’t think we should spend the time and money on “probably”. If Parker is right, and the Census numbers are wrong, then what data does she expect to use to determine the new districts? She will have to use the “wrong” data. So she is basically saying the data is wrong, but it’s right enough to use it to determine districts. You can’t have it both ways. The data is either wrong, or it’s right.
So why is she so determined to add these two seats when so many council members, both republicans and democrats, do not want to add the seats now? I think that has yet to be seen, but it is very possible that she has some districts in mind that she wants to create.
Our population will likely reach 2.1 million (if it’s not there already) before the next Census, but this is something that can wait. Every Houstonian has a district council member and five at-large members to go to when there is a problem. In this time of economic uncertainty, we have more important things to worry about. Now is not the time to change the rules for what is a likely political reason.